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Speciation of Metals in Asphaltenes by High-Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry

Abstract : Asphaltenes are considered to be the most problematic components of heavy oils because they can self-aggregate which leads to precipitation and causes various problems during oil recovery, transportation, and refining. The contribution of the porphyrins present in asphaltenes to the aggregation was previously studied by gel permeation chromatography inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (GPC-ICP MS). The molecular weight of asphaltene aggregates was shown to be increased by free metal-containing porphyrins (corresponding to the lower molecular weight fraction) interacting with the aggregate’s surfaces by weak forces. The characterization of free porphyrins within the asphaltenes is therefore for the understanding of the mechanism of the aggregation, coprecipitation, and demetalation processes. Here, we developed a method for the separation of free porphyrins from asphaltenes on the basis of their polarity using high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC). This technique, using disposable plates, is particularly well suited for asphaltene analysis since it eliminates the risk of clogging typical of column chromatography. Cellulose plates were used in this study. The lower polarity of their hydroxyl groups limit the irreversible adsorption and improves the detection limit by the ICP-MS. Two well-separated peaks were obtained from purified asphaltene (Asphaltene 2017; Asphaltene Characterization Interlaboratory Study for PetroPhase 2017. In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Pretroleum Phase Behavior and Fouling, Le Havre, France, June 11–15, 2017; Total, the University of Pau, and the University of Rouen-Normandy: Le Havre, France, 2017.) and its corresponding whole crude oil and C5 and C7 fractions. The distribution of vanadium due to migration was determined by laser ablation (LA) ICP MS. The eluted fraction contained the free porphyrins, whereas the major fraction did not migrate and corresponded to trapped porphyrins. A comparison with the signal obtained by UV densitometry allowed the ratio between the inorganic and organic material to be measured.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 10:07:58 AM
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Rémi Moulian, Sara Gutierrez Sama, Carole Garnier, Sandra Mounicou, Maxime Enrico, et al.. Speciation of Metals in Asphaltenes by High-Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. Energy and Fuels, American Chemical Society, 2019, 33 (7), pp.6060-6068. ⟨10.1021/acs.energyfuels.9b00676⟩. ⟨hal-02282550⟩



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